I plan to start an innovative e-commerce service on mobile and web. I have the idea and industry knowledge, but very basic technical knowledge (hardware, software etc). I decided to find a technical co-founder for this venture, but haven't been successful yet. Spoke to a few people, but haven't yet found the perfect person in terms of personal traits and experience.
As I am looking for this technical person, I am also feeling that I am loosing time as I am unable to progress on the plan. Although it's a new idea, there surely will be more and more players offering similar services soon, so time is crucial.
What can I do till the time I find a technical partner? There are small companies who seem to have expertise to built this application for me, so should I outsource it to such a specialised company. At least the application prototype can be built, and when I find a technical partner to join, he can take it up from there.
You don't want to outsource what makes or breaks your business. As an example, if your business is a new way to build a chip, then you don't want to outsource the manufacturing, although you could, and should outsource the website construction that advertises your chip.
That being said, there are reasons to hire a company to build a prototype for you. Even if you find a technical co-founder, it is unlikely one person will have all the skills you need - but a company might. So if you outsource, you'll end up with a better prototype than if you built it on your own. However, you'll have to pay for it, so if financing is an issue, then you may be left with little option but to bootstrap completely.
You are right to be concerned about your competition. If you have the money, then the best bet is to get a prototype site done as soon as practical while you continue to pursue a co-founder.
In the long run, it's much better to have your core technology built internally or to at least have someone that's in charge of the technology direction in house. You really can't outsource that.
Getting something up and running is not only a way to attract customers, but employees and cofounders as well.
Not having enough technical expertise can leave you open to paying too much for your prototype and not necessarily having it match what you really wanted. I had a non-technical client once who tried to do it all on her own and ended up with a proposal for $50k for about half of the product that she wanted. After we went through the process of really defining her product and writing a proper spec, we got proposals to develop the whole thing for less than $20k. It wasn't the first company's fault that their estimate was so high - she had gone to them with a vague idea and no real technical details and they did their best to understand what she wanted. So, if you can't find a cofounder, I would recommend at least finding a consultant or someone you can trust who has software product development experience and can guide you through the process.